The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and released in 2013. Set in a world ravaged by a fungal pandemic, the game follows the story of Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a young girl named Ellie across the United States. As they navigate the dangerous and desolate landscape, they encounter other survivors and face challenging moral dilemmas.
The game received critical acclaim upon its release, praised for its compelling story, well-developed characters, and immersive gameplay. The Last of Us has won numerous awards, including multiple Game of the Year awards, and has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time. Now, almost a decade after its initial release, Naughty Dog has brought The Last of Us back to life with a full remake for the PlayStation 5 and PC.
AT A GLANCE
GENRE: Action, Adventure
DEVELOPER: Naughty Dog LLC
PUBLISHER: PlayStation PC LLC
RELEASE DATE: 28 Mar 2023(PC), 2 Sep 2022(PS5)
FINAL SCORE: 10/10
The gameplay of The Last of Us is an exceptional combination of stealth, exploration, and survival mechanics that work seamlessly together to create an immersive and thrilling experience. As players control Joel and Ellie on their journey across a post-apocalyptic United States, they are faced with various challenges, including hostile human enemies and infected creatures.
One of the standout features of the gameplay is the strategic and intense combat system. The game encourages players to use stealth and carefully plan their attacks to avoid being overwhelmed by enemies. Players can also scavenge for resources and craft items such as Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, and health kits to aid them in combat. The use of firearms is limited, adding to the tension and sense of danger in every encounter.
Exploration is also a key element of the gameplay. Players must search for supplies, hidden areas, and clues to progress through the game. The environments are meticulously designed, from abandoned towns to overgrown forests, creating a believable and immersive world. The use of light and sound also adds to the atmosphere, with players needing to use their senses to navigate through the game’s darker moments.
Finally, survival is an essential aspect of the gameplay. Resources are scarce, and players must manage their supplies carefully to survive. The game’s crafting system allows players to create items and weapons from scavenged materials, which adds an extra layer of strategy to the gameplay. The game also features a day and night cycle, with players needing to find safe places to rest and recuperate before continuing their journey.
The Last of Us Part 1 doesn’t have a lot of gameplay improvements over the original, but there are still a couple of things worth mentioning. One of the most significant improvements is the overhauled artificial intelligence (AI), which allows for more non-player characters (NPCs) on screen and more aggressive and tactical enemy AI.
Players can also expect gameplay adaptations for the Infected, including new animations for Stalkers and a charge move for Bloaters. Additionally, new gameplay modes have been added, such as a permadeath mode and a speedrun-focused mode, as well as new costumes for Joel and Ellie.
The developers have also expanded accessibility options, allowing for customizable controls, audio descriptions for cutscenes, and haptic feedback during dialogue. Difficulty modes can also be customized to change enemy resilience, stealth efficacy, and resource availability. The overhauled photo mode adds several bonus features, including visual and gameplay modifiers such as slow motion and infinite ammunition.
The story of The Last of Us is widely considered one of the most emotional and powerful narratives in video game history. It is a deeply emotional and impactful tale that explores themes of loss, survival, and the bond between two unlikely companions. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a fungal pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, and those who remain to struggle to survive in a world overrun by infected and ruthless survivors.
The story follows the journey of Joel, a hardened survivor who has lost everything, and Ellie, a teenage girl who may hold the key to finding a cure for the pandemic. Their journey is filled with danger, heartbreak, and unexpected moments of tenderness that make the bond between them all the more powerful.
The Last of Us takes a mature and nuanced approach to its storytelling, presenting complex characters and exploring the gray areas of morality. It is a game that asks tough questions about what it means to be human, and it doesn’t shy away from difficult answers.
The impact of The Last of Us on gaming cannot be overstated. It has inspired countless imitators, and its influence can be seen in many of the best narrative-driven games that have come out since its release. The game’s characters and story have become iconic, and it is a testament to the power of video game storytelling that a game like The Last of Us can have such a profound impact on players.
The remake also includes The Last of Us: Left Behind, which is a DLC prequel to the main game that gives players a deeper insight into Ellie’s character and her relationship with her friend, Riley. The story is emotional and heartfelt, exploring themes of friendship, love, and loss. Despite its short length, Left Behind manages to pack a punch and further enhance the emotional impact of the main game’s storyline. The writing is top-notch and the voice acting is superb, with Ashley Johnson delivering a standout performance as Ellie. Left Behind is an essential experience, offering a deeper understanding of Ellie’s character and providing a satisfying and emotional prequel to the events of The Last of Us.
Visuals and Sound
Compared to gameplay and story, visuals are one place that has seen a total overhaul from the original game. The Last of Us Part I Remastered is a stunning achievement that brings the game to life in new and exciting ways. With updated graphics and an abundance of accessibility options, the game is more beautiful and accessible than ever before. The addition of new modes like speedrun and permanent death add even more ways to experience the game, while the DualSense controller makes every bullet and struggle feel even more intense.
One of the most noteworthy improvements is the facial animations. Naughty Dog went back to the original motion-captured performances and used them as a guide to add more nuance and emotion to the game.
The game’s story is not only conveyed through cinematics but also through gameplay. During quieter moments of conversation, players can focus on the characters’ faces, which are impressively detailed and expressive. The enemies also look more realistic than ever, with human hunters’ angry faces and the Infected’s disturbingly distorted expressions.
Naughty Dog has also improved the environmental detail of the world, which is just as significant as facial animations. The post-apocalyptic United States depicted in the original game was already stunning, but it’s amplified in Part I with better lighting, more realistic trees and vegetation, and stunning reflections on the water.
Each area has its own unique look and feel, from the overgrown streets of a quarantined city to the lush forests of the countryside. The lighting is especially well done, with the sun shining through the trees creating a beautiful natural glow. The level of detail is truly impressive, with every object in the environment having its own texture and depth.
The game also makes excellent use of color. The color palette is muted and subdued, which adds to the game’s overall tone and atmosphere. The use of color is particularly striking during certain scenes, where a burst of color stands out against the bleak and desolate surroundings.
The voice-acting performances in The Last of Us Part I are simply exceptional. The game features a star-studded cast, including Troy Baker as Joel, Ashley Johnson as Ellie, and Merle Dandridge as Marlene, among others. Each actor brings their character to life with incredible nuance, depth, and authenticity.
Troy Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as Joel, perfectly capturing the gruff and guarded exterior of a man who has experienced unimaginable loss, while also revealing the vulnerability and tenderness that lies beneath. Ashley Johnson is equally impressive as Ellie, imbuing the character with a sense of youthful defiance and an unbreakable spirit, even in the face of overwhelming odds.
The supporting cast is equally strong, with Merle Dandridge giving a standout performance as the leader of the Fireflies, Marlene. Her character is complex and multifaceted, and Dandridge brings a powerful intensity to the role that adds an extra layer of depth to the narrative.
The voice acting is so well done that it’s easy to forget that these are fictional characters, rather than real people. The performances are so authentic that they draw you into the story and make you care deeply about the fate of the characters.
Overall, the voice acting in The Last of Us Part I is some of the best in any video game. The actors bring their characters to life with such skill and precision that it’s impossible not to be moved by their performances.